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Delaware preparing for possible plane arrival carrying Texas migrants

Georgetown, Delaware mayor says his town will welcome any migrants if they come
Georgetown, Delaware mayor says his town will welcome any migrants if they come 02:05

GEORGETOWN, Del. (CBS) -- Community organizations and leaders packed a small Delaware airport Tuesday waiting for a plane many had thought would be bringing migrants. It was originally scheduled to land Tuesday afternoon, but right now when or even if it's coming.

Georgetown's mayor says if and when the call comes, his town will be ready to welcome anyone who needs a place to call home.

"Last night around 9, quarter to 10, I started receiving text messages saying, 'Hey, do you know about this airplane coming in and bringing migrants in to Georgetown?'" Mayor Bill West said.

West says since he was first alerted Monday night. he's spent the last 24 hours working with the governor's office in Dover along with local volunteer groups preparing to receive migrants from states including Texas and Florida.

"I heard this morning early, about 35," West said. "We were not sure of children or adults or families. We were preparing for whatever."

Migrants are at the center of a political push from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to call attention to the Biden administration's immigration policies, something the president addressed Tuesday.

"He should come visit, we have a beautiful shoreline," President Joe Biden said.

Last week, DeSantis sent a plane of migrants to Martha's Vineyard.

The Bexar County Sheriff in Texas is investigating whether that was a crime.

Some migrants claim they were tricked with false promises of housing and jobs.

"The people of Delaware, they welcome visitors to their state," Diane Batchik, a national board member for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, said. "They are a welcoming community and there is already a strong immigrant presence here, so they chose poorly."

Among those ready to help is Casa de Venezuela Greater Philadelphia Vice President Rossana Arteaga-Lopenza.

"I just think it's really sad we're using human lives as a political stunt," Arteaga-Lopenza said. "It has to be sad. We are being manipulated in moving around for the convenience of their political gains."

While the president's home base has now become the latest asylum state to make national headlines, Georgetown's mayor says the people must remain priority.

"I don't like it," West said. "We're using people as instruments to get a message across. It's time everybody comes to the table and let's be human beings about this."

For now, he says Georgetown -- a town of 7,200 with a majority Latino population -- is ready and willing to welcome all who need a safe place to stay.

"We need to treat them with respect and show them how Delaware can do things," West said, "and that's what we're all about."

Delaware Gov. John Carney's office says it hasn't received any notification from the governors of Florida or Texas that migrants are coming but says the state will not turn away the migrants.

"We are prepared to meet their immediate needs, housing, shelter, do they need medical care? Transportation, food," Jill Fredel, director of communications for Delaware's Department of Health and Social Services, said. "We are prepared to meet all of those needs, and we will do that as long as it takes."

At last check, it's still unclear if and when any migrants will be flown to Delaware.

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